Children of Fear

Session 14

Shots Fired!

After they somehow had managed to collect the blessed instruments and were whisked away thanks to Tenzin’s magical powers, the group had found their way into the via the printing house to the Tibetan monastery Dzong Chen. Waiting for their opportunity to present their newly acquired, surprisingly graphic thangka to the monastery’s abbot the investigators discuss the nature of demons with Tenzin. Where the monk is fairly open-minded about the depiction of him in the throws of passion with a red-skinned supernatural creature, the rest of the group is more hesitant about what it might mean.

The night in the monastery is surprisingly restful for a change, with only Lord Barnes waking in the middle of the night. When he realizes than what woke him was the noise of Shen Chu’s disappearing footsteps he gets up and feels his way through the dark. It does not take long for him to manage waking up the rest of the monastery as well, albeit by crashing into an extraordinarily breakable shelf of vases. Only once the chaos has subsides does Shen Chu reveal something she has witnessed during her nightly walk: A dark-skinned woman in the same blue cloak as the trainstation stranger meeting clandestinely with the treasurer of the monastery. She has seen the monk handing over a box, similar to the transport container of the thangka.
When the group investigates the stables, where the meeting had taken place, they are surprised by an escaping rider who hastily disappears into the shadowy woods. Assuming that this is his moment, Tex jumps on a parked donkey and gives chase. Pursuing the mysterious rider to a nearby camp he manages to get a glimpse of her and her whirlwind pendant before she manages to disappear into the dark wilderness.
The agitated Hans, followed by the rest of the group, kicks open doors on his hunt for the treasurer Kunchen Chodak. The treasurer is shaken out of bed and, when confronted, presents the thangka – the inflammatory one depicting demon fornication – safely in its box. This only fuels Hans’ rage over this brazen deception and a gun is drawn. But when the monk is still denying his betrayal, the situation suddenly escalates with a bang – Hans has shot the traitorous man in the knee. This finally drives him to confess his lies and threaten the adventurers with the rise of Agartha.

The stress of the journey and the impending doom begins to show its effects on the group: The adventurers barely hesitate to tie up, strip and threaten the agent of the Tokabhaya. Marta goes so far as to publicly mutilate herself to intimidate the approaching alerted monks. With Barnes’ gun at his throat Chodak confesses that he has handed over information and treasures to the mysterious cult of strangers. He expects to benefit from their goal of shaking up the existing order, since a total rule of one power means an end to struggle. His frenzy finds a climax when he manages to set himself on fire in front of everyone’s disbelieving eyes. Unfortunately his flammability had just been critically increased by Yulia’s misguided application of paraffin when treating Chodak’s bullet wound.

After the horror of watching a man excruciatingly burn to death the adventurers pass the rest of night in a restless attempt to cope with the events. Only when the morning comes, the abbot of the monastery finally steps in front of the violent strangers to beg them to leave. Tex, Hans and Tenzin manage to convince the abbot of their good intention and the treasurer’s betrayal. He even accepts the lewd tapestry in place of the expected gift, even though his disappointment is hard to miss.

On their journey back to Derge the group is lured by the sound of music. Sneaking up on the lights, smells and sounds of a camp they discover an inviting feast and four red-skinned, alluring women beckoning them in. Tex doesn’t hesitate to “encounter” these beauties from up close, especially when one of them is the spitting image of the one depicted on the thangka. The demonic women (and shape-shifted men) extend an invitation to the whole group, claiming that they simply wish to enjoy the travelers’ company.
With Tex, Albert and Martha falling for the lure very much immediately, Hans and Tenzin are intent on investigating further. Meanwhile Barnes, Yulia and Shen Chu creep in the shadows, keeping eyes and guns trained on the eerie roadside festivities.